Emergency medicine training programs' educational requirements in the management of psychiatric emergencies: Current perspective

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Objective:The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of training in clinical psychiatry that is provided and/or required by emergency medicine (EM) residency training programs and pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) subspecialty residency training programs.Design/Methods:A questionnaire was mailed to 114 EM residency directors and to all 50 PEM fellowship directors. Each director was asked to indicate the amount of psychiatric training that was required of residents or fellows in his or her program. Details concerning the exact structure of psychiatric training were solicited from those offering such training.Results:There was a 76% response rate (n= 88) among EM programs, and 76% (n= 59) of the respondents reported no formal training in the management of acute psychiatric emergencies. Only 14% (12 programs) provide a 1-month rotation in psychiatry. Of the 3-year programs, 14% (n= 11) offer 2-week psychiatric electives, and 9% (n= 8) offer some training. There was a 72% response rate among the PEM training programs. Only one of the 36 respondents provided a required 1-month rotation in psychiatry. Six programs stated the availability of a 1-month elective in psychiatry. Two programs reported 2 to 3 hours per year of core lecture time dedicated to psychiatric emergencies.Conclusions:Standardized psychiatric training is not required of most trainees in EM and PEM. Few (24%) training programs provide formal psychiatric training for their EM residents, and even fewer (< 3%) provide such training for their PEM fellows.

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